Christmas clothes — Part four

Published 7:00 am Saturday, December 15, 2018

By Fr. Jonathan Filkins

Whether it was only by chance, or there was some sort of outside direction, was not clear, but Logos House was a “full service” mission. The Mission’s interests were in making their clients whole and they did far more than take care of the physical needs of food, clothing, and shelter. The staff had been selected and trained to look for the deeper issues; those which kept those who came to them from repeating their mistakes.

As part of their assistance, they knew of the imprinting behaviors which several generations may have endured.  Often, parents with poor skills passed them down to their children, as each in succession. Indifference about education and employment, only living for the day to day, frequently trapped these otherwise good people in an endless cycle of bouncing from crisis to crisis.

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With over twenty years of experience, Miss Liz had seen several hundred cases like Donna and her children. It followed the same pattern. Here was a woman who, in her teens, had a baby. Then the “baby daddy,” equally as young, soon was overwhelmed and bailed out. Shortly thereafter, the mother met a man and together they had four more children. He turned out to be abusive, irresponsible and currently in jail for assault.

Such was the history of the woman which sat before her. Donna’s needs were far more than a food voucher, or help with the electrical bill. Logos house would help with these issues, but the concern was for the long-term and the future this young family faced. Miss Liz knew that, without steps at intervention, this mother was preparing the next generation to repeat the errors which she had done.

“Donna,” Miss Liz patiently began, “you have told me what brought you to us and I understand much of what you have been through. As we get to know each other a bit better, I would like to know more. Now, let’s put the kids in the playroom with Kylee so we can have a bit of time together.”

When the children were gone, Donna continued. “Please tell me what it was like growing up in your family…” So, began the conversation, which was one of many over the ensuing weeks. Each time they met, Donna revealed a bit more. While unique to Donna, it all sounded too tragically familiar to Miss Liz. Yet, the brightest spot was the love between Donna’s parents and how that love was bestowed upon her. It was the glue which held the family together and the glue which held Donna and her kids together.

After taking a breath, Donna broke down and wept. She had held all of this in so long, and had no one to tell of her plight, until now. Miss Liz was ready, “We are going to help you with what you need. My assistant, Steve, will give you some vouchers for food and you can bring in your electric bill when it comes. This is only a start, as we will have to look at your challenges for the future. I now have to ask you a question, which I want you to answer when you come back tomorrow, “What are you going to do about your future and what changes are you going to make?”

“Before you go, I want to introduce you to another one of my clients. She is not unlike you, as she has kids about your age and you both have a similar background. I would like you to meet her tomorrow. Her name is Crystal. OK?”

Donna left the warmth of Logos House with renewed hope, as the children strode before her.  She realized her little family was not alone and that others really cared for them It was a strange feeling this; this giving to others, without the need for getting something back in return. Donna wondered what moved them to do this.